Letting yourself be Uncomfortable

The difficult things are what make life interesting.

Doing something different can sometimes be uncomfortable.  The truth is most of us given the chance want to be normal, like everyone else.  We feel like standing out in a crowd, letting others really see us for who we are is too intimidating.  We don’t want to share our whole selves with everyone, so we hide behind our “normal” masks and hope and pray that no one can see through the facade.

But is that what we really want?  There is only one us.  Even twins and other multiples have different things about themselves.  Normal is a setting on a washing machine, it has nothing to do with us as people.  We each have something that excites us, that makes our face light up when we talk about it, our eyes sparkle, we get this goofy grin on our face and we could sit for hours talking about it.  That’s not something I’d consider normal, but extraordinary.  It’s our true passions coming to light, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  In fact we should take our passions out for a spin more often.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about what you’re passionate about.  It’s okay to let your freak flags fly, when it comes to your passions.  You would be amazed at what some people are passionate about, and they have actually turned that off the wall passion into a lucrative business.  Someone in Florida had a love of mermaids and photography and now she sets up scenes and has costumes for her clients to dress in and she takes mermaid pictures for a living, that is all she does and she makes somewhere in the mid five figures a year.

I mean think back to the eighties.  Would there have been Madonna?  Boy George?  Cher?  Or even back when Cher was with Sonny on their tv show.  These people stood out, let themselves be seen and dared to be different.  And it’s something that you all can do too.  All it takes is a Leap of Faith.  Instead of saying “I couldn’t possibly” or “I can’t”, exercise your freedom and say “I can do this, I want to do this.”

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Embracing Change

There are only two things guaranteed you in life.  First, once you are born, you will die.  It may be tomorrow or 20 years from now. When you examine your life with the perspective that you’re dying, you start to question some things that you previously accepted without a second thought.   It’s a little bit like the cancer patient who has been told they have 6 months to live and there is nothing the doctors can do.  And to be perfectly honest, this is how we should all live our lives.  We should live our lives to the fullest.  Taking in every special moment, every sunset, every adventure that comes our way.  We need to get up off our couches and say enough is enough, I want to live my life!  Make a list, if that helps you.  What have you always wanted to do and haven’t done?  What dreams have you let slip away because you thought you didn’t have a chance or it wasn’t the right time?  There is so much sadness and pain and frustration in the world, but there doesn’t have to be in your life.  Find a way to make your dreams a reality.  Start crossing things off your list.  If you always wanted to learn to cook, sign up for a class.  If you always wanted to write a book, make time and write.  If you always wanted to go to Paris, then set aside a little money each month and don’t touch it until you can make that trip a reality.  Get outside more, enjoy those sunsets, take time away from your busy schedule and play with your family.

And second, your life will change constantly.  Every moment, every second, something happens and you’re a different person.  You have a made a decision or one has been made for you, and you are now on a new path.  We’re much better at adapting than we think.  Only you can choose to make changes for the better.  You can choose to put down that doughnut and eat that granola bar.  Only you can choose to take the weekend off and go camping with your kids instead of being stuck inside watching the game while they play Xbox all weekend long.  And like I said, you can not make a choice, but that is just letting someone else make the choice for you.  Personally I’d rather make my own choice.  I may not like what someone else picks.  Right now I’m saving for a camping trip with my kids for spring break.  They don’t really know about it yet, but I’m hoping to get them on board.  I know it means being away from their electronics, but we haven’t done it in a while and I know we’d have a lot of fun.  Fishing and hiking and campfire cooking; it brings back great memories of summers long ago.

So I say Carpe your Diam whenever you get the chance.  Be the you that you were meant to be, the you that makes you the happiest.  Embrace change.  Embrace life.   And Take Little Leaps of Faith every day.

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Being Grateful

Today, being Thanksgiving, it is a time to reflect on the year or even our lives and give thanks for what we have.  Too many of us are unaware of how truly blessed we are.  We trivialize the fact that we are healthy, that we have a job, that we have a home.  And yet there are so many without one or even all three of those things.  We run around like crazy people shopping on Thanksgiving at those shops who opened early and wake up at 2am to stand in line to get some deal on a gift at a store on Black Friday.  My gosh the last time I even had enough money saved away to spend on Black Friday was 2012.  But thanks to Black Friday Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be.  I think REI has the right idea we need to opt out.

Instead of shopping we need to spend time with our family and friends.  We need to tell them how much we appreciate and love them. We need to make lists of what we are grateful for, because believe me, we’ve got it good.  We’re not sleeping on the streets.  We’re not addicted to drugs and whacked out of our minds (at least I hope you’re not).  Someone always has it worse than you.  So take a good look around you.  I bet you have a lot more than you thought to be thankful for.

I’m so grateful that I’ve got two handsome, smart, caring sons, who are growing up to be men that I’m so proud of.  I’m grateful that I’ve got an apartment, and a job, and a car that will get me there.  I’m grateful that I’m 5 years cancer free.  I’m grateful that I’m finally taking the classes I need to so I can start my own copywriting business.  And I’m grateful that I’ve got a 2 year plan that will get by business up and rolling and me out of the country traveling.  So what are you grateful for?

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Making A Committment to Yourself

It’s funny but to a lot of people committment is a four letter word.  Not literally, of course, but figuratively speaking.  There is so much standing behind that word.  You are saying that you are promising to do something faithfully with total dedication.  And for someone to commit to something, whether it be a person or a project, takes a lot of strength of character, because committing to something isn’t always an easy thing to do.

How many times have we committed to doing something and failed?  People make commitments of marriage then end up divorced.  People make commitments/resolutions at New Years to lose weight and join gyms only to wind up paying for memberships all year to a gym they went to maybe 5 times.

In order for your committment to stick, you need to break it down into doable goals or sections.  It’s just like anything that you are trying to make a habit of doing.  It’s not a habit until you’ve done it 30 days in a row.  Then by some sort of magical happenstance you continue to do it.  Take it one step and one day at a time.

So what is it that you want to commit to?  I want to commit to writing every day.  If someone asks me if I’m a writer, what do I say?  I am a writer because I have written; I have 8 books on Amazon Kindle. But should I say I was a writer, because I’m not currently writing?  But then if I make that committment and write every day I am a writer.  Well, I think I’ll spell it out a little better.  I have 3 blogs on top of the fiction that I write.  So I commit to writing daily and keeping up with all my blogs on a continual basis, which I haven’t necessarily been doing lately.

Commitment in itself is a Leap of Faith that you believe in yourself and are willing to put it out there for the world to see.

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Looking Back At What I’ve Done

Sometimes to see where you’re going, you have to look back and see where you’ve been.  I was working and getting jobs freelancing on Elance.  I was bidding on lots of jobs and getting maybe 1 out of every 6 I bid on, then I got a couple of regulars who gave me steady work, so I had jobs from them I knew I could count on.  But it really wasn’t what I wanted to do.  Well, what did I want to do?  Ultimately I wanted to be able to have a job where I could travel and still do it.  I wanted to be a copywriter.  I also wanted to possibly learn to teach English abroad.  Okay, so Elance isn’t going to get me the kinds of jobs I’m looking for if I want to be a copywriter.  I may need some training.  And I will definitely need training to teach English.  So I got online and found some classes that I could take and started taking them.  Why waste time thinking about doing something?  While I take the classes I’ve been working and still taking a few writing gigs on Elance for an extra buck.  Mainly from my regulars, because I don’t have a lot of extra time.  Eventually I’ll have to start doing some planning, like getting a website or two up.  If I’m going to be a copywriter that will be one site and teaching English another.  If I’m going to be in another country I’ll need a passport.  I’ll have to plan a lot then, but that’s down the road.  Right now I see where I’m heading.  I’m taking classes to get the background I need to be able to do what I want to do.  Then I’ll go from there.  But I had to look at where I was, see what I really wanted, and then find the way there.  It’s not hard, but most of the time we don’t stop and ask ourselves what we really want.  And even if we do, we don’t then push on and follow through and take the steps to get what we really want because we feel safe and snug in our lives and don’t want to rock the boat.  But if the boat doesn’t get rocked, your stuck with the same boring life for the rest of your life.  And I’m sorry, but that is just not for me.  I’d go crazy.  I guess I’m just a natural born boat rocker.  I’ve always been antsy, I have to get out there and explore.  I’ve got the travel bug and haven’t really been anywhere.  But I can promise you this, once I get going, I’m going all over, anywhere and everywhere.  I can’t wait to see where that Leap of Faith will take me.

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We Create Our Reality

We create our reality.  Where we are right now in our lives is an amalgamation of our thoughts our choices.  It starts with thoughts, and then we make choices or don’t make choices, we take roads or veer down other paths.  But those choices and those roads have lead us directly to where we are today.  So the question is are you where you want to be?  Are you doing the things that you want to do, the things that make you happy?  If so, great! Celebrate that.  But if not, why aren’t you?  Are you too scared, too worried, too afraid of going down that path and not knowing what will happen?  The thing is you’ll never know unless you try.  You’ll just be stuck in this stagnant life that you don’t want, feeling that is somehow better than taking that leap and going for your dreams.  You don’t have to blow your life apart to get what you want.  You can take it one small step at a time if that’s what it takes.  But take those small steps.  Be willing to make the choice to follow your dreams, even if they are outrageously huge, by breaking them down into little bite size pieces so that you can go slowly if you need to.  But if you look back on your life, you can see the choices you made, the things you didn’t do, the roads you didn’t travel, and you can see why you are where you are right now.  So if you truly want to be somewhere else, take the fork in the road, take even a small Leap of Faith, and head towards your dreams.

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Learning from Treehouses

Ever since I remember I wanted to live in a treehouse.  I guess it all started with Swiss Family Robinson.  Who didn’t see that show and long for a house with multiple rooms up in the trees with swinging bridges attaching them.  It was every kids fantasy.  Then you grow up and realize you’ll have to scale that down a bit, to maybe a single room fort.  Then the next thing you know you’re dreaming about building a treehouse for your little one, because you just never got around to it when you were a kid.  But there are lessons to be learned from building treehouses, that most people don’t ever think about or see.

Treehouses in this day and age can be anything you want them to be.  They can be as simple as a fort or as complex as a 2 bedroom 1 bath suite.  So the first lesson, is let your imagination take hold and let the “Swiss Family Robinson” in you out.  As long as you can dream it, an architect can probably design it, so dare to dream about everything you want in a treehouse.  Do you want a porch that surrounds the entire thing that is big enough to hold chairs for you to sit and watch the sunset at night with potted plants hanging down around you?  If so, go for it.  Do you want a 1/2 bath inside with a composting toilet and a covered outdoor shower, that too is possible.  Lesson #1 Let Yourself Dream.

All of what you dream depends on the second lesson, you have to choose the right site.  Choosing the site to build your treehouse is of utmost importance.  It, for obvious reasons, needs to adhere to city and state regulations, but also needs to be atmospheric.  Have the picture window facing the west to see the setting sun, or have a room with a south view and lots of natural light if you are wanting an artist retreat.  You also have to make sure you have the right kind of trees for the construction of your treehouse.  Lesson #2 Be In the Right Place at the Right Time.

Next if you are going big, you need to know that you will need multiple trees.  And you need to build in such a way that allows the trees to bend and sway in the wind carrying your treehouse with it instead of smashing it to smithereens.  Spreading the weight over multiple trees makes the treehouse like a sail in the wind.  It is also important to leave gaps around the branches for the growth and movement of the tree.  Lesson #3 Be Flexible.

The floor, however, needs to be level.  So no matter how many trees you use, unless you are making multiple rooms with bridges in between, the floor itself needs to be level.  Lesson #4 Have a Solid Foundation.

And last but not least, not everything needs to be built in the air.  Build portions of your treehouse down on the ground and then hoist it up and get it in place piece by piece. Lesson #5 Take the Time To Do It Right and Don’t Be In a Rush

So that’s my treehouse wisdom.  Hopefully one day I will have a treehouse of my own.

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